President Tran Dai Quang (R) meets with Prem Kumar, Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Bihar on March 2 (Photo: VNA)

New Delhi (VNA) – President Tran Dai Quang, his spouse and the high-ranking delegation of Vietnam on March 2 visited Bodh Gaya city in the state of Bihar, the first destination in their three-day State visit to India.

The Vietnamese leader came to Bihar state before arriving in New Delhi later the same day.

Receiving Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Bihar Prem Kumar, President Quang expressed his delight visiting Bihar state, one of the most sacred places of Buddhism.

He stressed that Vietnam and India boast long-standing relations in culture and religion when Buddhism entered Vietnam thousands of years ago and now continues to develop and deeply impart its values to Vietnamese people. This is also a foundation for the intensive cultural and people-to-people exchange and the close-knit friendship between the two countries.

He expressed his belief that the Bihar administration and people will continue preserving the beautiful values of Buddhism and creating favorable conditions for Vietnamese citizens and Buddhist monks and followers to visit the state.

The visiting leader also asked Bihar state to bolster cooperation with Vietnamese localities in the fields that it is strong at.

[Photos: President Tran Dai Quang arrives in New Delhi for State visit to India]

For his part, Minister Prem Kumar affirmed that the India visit by President Quang reflects Vietnam’s attaching of importance to the cultural and religious links with India.

Bihar will create the best possible conditions and ensure security and safety for the Vietnamese to visit Bodh Gaya, he noted, voicing his wish for stronger spiritual tourism cooperation with Vietnam.

The official also said he is impressed with the Southeast Asian nation’s achievements in all spheres, including agriculture. As one of the Indian states with the biggest agricultural production, especially rice and corn, Bihar wants to cooperate with Vietnamese localities in this area.

Also on March 2, President Quang, his spouse and the Vietnamese delegation visited Viet Nam Phat Quoc tu (Vietnam Bouddha Bhumi Vihara), the first Vietnamese temple in Bodh Gaya. The leader praised the monks of the pagoda for helping to popularise the values of Vietnamese Buddhism’s culture in Bodh Gaya, the biggest Buddhist centre in India.

The same day, the spouse of President Quang, Nguyen Thi Hien, visited the Siddhartha Compassionate School in Bodh Gaya.-VNA